may the eyes be open for what comes

For the Raindrop

By Ghalib

For the raindrop, joy is in entering the river—
Unbearable pain becomes its own cure.

Travel far enough into sorrow, tears turn to sighing;
In this way we learn how water can die into air.

When, after heavy rain, the stormclouds disperse,
Is it not that they’ve wept themselves clear to the end?

If you want to know the miracle, how wind can polish a mirror,
Look: the shining glass grows green in spring.

It’s the rose’s unfolding Ghalib, that creates the desire to see—
In every color and circumstance, may the eyes be open for what comes.

Yet another lovely poem I’ve been introduced to by “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry”. In this chapter, Kornfield teaches us of the necessary process of feeling our sorrows to get through to our true selves below the layers of whatever we carry. He describes it as “removing the scales of the body” and describes it as a process of slowly (and sometimes painfully) peeling petal by petal from the rose. I’ve had many moments when I felt overwhelmed by a sadness I couldn’t comprehend, and I spoke in an earlier post about the difficulty of trying not to take on the hurt of the world. I’m reflecting on this after the bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday- on how much hurt we all carry and the layers of shields we wear to hide it. The news made me feel so shaky and fragile. All the tvs at work were on news stations playing clips with accompanying ‘terror’ titles in never-ending loops. I hate the news, it inevitably makes me weep. But I don’t want to be ignorant of the world. The last line of the poem, when the poet seems to be speaking to himself, sounds like an instruction to my soul. I must find a way to be calm in my center so as to view the workings of the world clearly and openly. I must not hide my eyes from that which frightens me; and perhaps if I can learn to be strong within I will develop the desire to see the pain without fearing that I’ll be destroyed by it.

Roasted broccolini and asparagus

Roasted broccolini and asparagus

Now, on to the food:

“Food is not calories only. We think it’s calories in, calories out. But research is showing us that, no, food is information. It actually sends messages to your body to change your hormones, to change your inflammatory markers, to change your genes even literally every bite. You are actually controlling your hormones with every single bite of food that you eat.” – Dr. Mark Hyman

In my quest to be more mindful of the things I’m putting into my body (and yes, I mean so much more than food!), this quote serves as an excellent reminder. Now when I sit down to eat or meal plan, I muse: What will my body think of this?

I’m halfway through the Whole30 and feeling great! It’s difficult, no doubt, but certainly not painful. I noticed yesterday that although I’m not loosing weight, I am noticing some good results: My skin is glowing, my eyes are clearer and brighter, and I’m more positive and energized as a whole. My inexplicably entrenched fear of having nothing to eat is getting in the way of the weight loss, I’m sure. I’m eating much more than I need to at many meals. When I know I’m going to be out of the house, where food that actually fits in with my diet is difficult to find, I tend to shovel in more before I leave just to be safe. It’s silly, but no matter how much I try to tell myself there will be enough food when I need it next, I have a hard time taking it to heart. I’m a natural planner and worrier.

The boyfriend has had a difficult week of school stress with exams back-to-back, and he’s struggling with not being able to reach for his usual stress foods. I totally get that! I was reading from a book on change psychology the other day which said that we have limited reserves of willpower. When you’re dieting, for example, you’re using quite a bit of your willpower on everyday choices, which makes it that much more difficult to keep your rational brain in control to direct you to do other things you might not “feel” like doing. Which in his case is studying. Being told this information at midnight before two exams while you’re going through the throws of regret for not studying more earlier in the week…not the most helpful. So I’m directing my good intentions to make him feel better towards cooking up a storm of deliciousness!

Today I decided to remake some of the meals that we’ve loved over the past couple weeks. Next week I’ll start taking things in a new direction, when we’ll need some extra excitement to keep ourselves motivated through the home stretch.

Food prep: Tortilla-Less Chicken Soup, Sweet Potato Shepard's Pie, Roasted Veggies

Food prep: Tortilla-Less Chicken Soup, Sweet Potato Shepard’s Pie, Roasted Veggies

Later on tonight I plan to make up a big batch of salmon cakes and freeze some of them for in-a-pinch meals. One of the major disappointments of my last Whole30 is that I practically lived on the frozen salmon patties from Costco (soooo delicious and easy!) but never thought to check the ingredient list. Who would have thought there’d be anything in them but salmon?! The weak link: Canola oil. Come ON people! After buying three packs of them in anticipation of this diet, we were super bummed.

Another good Costco find that I’m a little suspicious about is a pre-made, unseasoned pulled pork from the refrigerated section. According to the ingredients list, we’re all clear…but it was just too good to be true! All I had to do was heat it up and out came a steaming pile of deliciousness we devoured without needing a sauce. Later on, I did try my hand at paleo bbq sauce, which was yummy but not all that similar. New goal: learn to make pulled pork from scratch. Once I can do that, I think boyfriend will have no choice but to pronounce his love for me from the rooftops. He loves that stuff.

PULLED PORK!!!

PULLED PORK!!!

Boyfriend has the touch for grilling. This week he made some fantastic tri-tip marinated in coconut aminos and red wine vinegar.

Straight off the grill

Straight off the grill

With sexy balsamic caramelized onions

With sexy balsamic caramelized onions

Grilled Tri Tip and Beet Cucumber Salad

With beet cucumber salad

 

Now for the confession: I have a problem with compulsive eating at times. And certain things just seem to push me off the edge- like during this Whole30 and the last one, it’s NUTS. Especially anything almond. But my brain seems to think that everything should be fine- They’re Whole30 approved and good for me and I love them: so why not eat them? Yes, rational brain, that’s an excellent point. Here, I’ll buy this gigantor container of roasted salted almonds because I’m at Costco and feeling starved…

 

things got ugly

things got ugly

The quick unscrew top and large, hand-sized opening kept calling to me. By day 2, I asked the boyfriend to hide them from me for a few days. On day 3 I tore apart the kitchen, found them, and ate what must have been 5 handfuls. So then I wrote him a friendly note before going to work with my bloated, upset stomach. Thankfully, I learned my lesson for the time being and haven’t even looked for them!

This month of April is all about contemplating how I nurture my body through food. And I wouldn’t be keeping my eyes open if I didn’t make an internal note of the significance of this craving pattern for me. After all, it can’t be just the crispy, salty almonds I’m so ravenous of – there must be something more that I’m missing, that my body is calling out for me to give it. But what?

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